Lists, Music

Beautiful soundtracks #4 – PC Games

This is just a list off the top of my head. I might’ve missed out some of my favorites. Put on your best earphones if you plan to listen.

• The Spirit Tree, Ori and the Blind Forest

• Kids will be Skeletons, Life is Strange

• The Dragonborn Comes, Skyrim

• Quinn and Valor, League of Legends

• Ezio’s Family, Assassin’s Creed II

• Welcome to Los Santos, GTA V

• Naru Embracing the Light, Ori and the Blind Forest

• Tazer, Age of Empires II

• Main Theme, Max Payne

• From Past to Present, Skyrim

Click here for part 1.
Click here for part 2.
Click here for part 3.

Journal, Music

An art-lover’s duty

A lot of blame is usually thrown around when we talk about the decline in quality of art over generations, and a huge chunk of that blame goes towards capitalism. Materialism is ruining the industry, they say. What else can we expect when everything is ruled by money? The talented artists seem eager to compromise quality in order to earn a little extra cash. What’s the solution? Some people think we should do away with capitalism altogether. The rest just don’t care. Very few seem to address the elephant in the room — the rotten taste of the consumers.

As most of us are aware, the goods and services produced through capitalism are mere reflections of desires of the society at large. The consumer is the god of the system. Hence, the education and awareness of the consumer is of primary importance.

Let’s start first by acknowledging the power of an average consumer. He does not put a lot of thought into which movie he watches or what music he listens to. He hears about a new blockbuster which his friends are going to watch, and he tags along. He has a fun time. Isn’t that what movies are for, anyway? He does not ponder on the effects of his trivial decision. He, and millions of people like him, produce the market for the cheap masquerade that is mainstream Bollywood. This in itself isn’t bad. I mean, sure, they are just bad movies, but they aren’t hurting anyone. Yet some underpaid film director who had invested all his savings into creating something meaningful just lost his career.

Add to this the recent fascination with horribly dumb things (Taher Shah comes to mind) which people watch just to see how dumb they are, the justification being “they’re so bad that they’re funny”. Yet we don’t see the same dedication for the extremely intelligent things — you’d think they should be interesting too. We’re sending a clear message to all content producers: don’t give us anything that lasts; give us instant gratification, cheap thrills and things to mock.

I’m not claiming that we should aim to change everyone’s consuming habits. That is an unrealistic goal. However, the ones who describe themselves as “art lovers” should be aware that they’re hurting the efforts of countless passionate artists whenever they spend time and money on things that lack artistic value, even if they think of it as mere entertainment. We simply don’t have that luxury. We live in a world where a film like Masaan struggles to survive while Hate Story 3 shines like a diamond. It’s time we acknowledge our role in the bigger scheme of things and put our money where our mouth is. It’s our duty to dig out the gold that lies beneath all the soot and expose it to the world.

You’re young like tonight,
And to be young is to be right,
You never had to prove any loyalty.
But we dreamt of a war,
On that night and in that car,
We made a promise.
Do you recall?
It’s not a song,
That will prove them wrong,
This time around.
Music

Eastern flutes

I am mesmerized by wind instruments, especially the different variants of flute. Last year I bought an Irish tin whistle as a supplement to the piano. It’s easy to play and doesn’t sound horrible in the hands of an amateur player.

However, judging from the richness in voice alone, the eastern flutes are hard to compete with. There’s always a little mysticism attached to a rugged piece of bamboo.

Bansuri (Indian)

Xiao (Chinese)

Shakuhachi (Japanese) + Dizi and Xiao

 

Journal, Music

Bulletproof

It was a moment of invincibility. Our car sped through the bright sunbathed autumn landscape, with me riding shotgun and Youngblood’s The Warpath beating in my ears.

The highway cut through miles of farms and forests. Farmers paused their work to watch us, an occasional cyclist gaped as we passed him by, dogs and cows scattered at our honks. There was an immense sense of victory and all future sorrows seemed inconceivable — the world was centered around us and at our disposal. I clenched my fist, half expecting everything to crumple up and disappear.

It’s amazing how music tricks our minds.

This medicine is wearing thin now
We’re bulletproof until we bleed out
And even though we always try to hide our instincts from our pride
In our struggle to survive we keep the warpath by our side

We strike the sky until the sun bows
And fly until our feathers burn out
All our lives we’ve been apart
A vicious cycle from the start
In our struggle to survive we keep the warpath by our side

Music

The Dangling Conversation

It’s a still life watercolor,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
The borders of our lives.

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost.
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time
And the dangled conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theater really dead?”
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You’re a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.

Anime, Music

Chiaki playing Rachmaninoff – one of the best TV moments ever!

Chiaki has been my role model in more ways than one for quite a long time now. Here’s his chilling performance of the first movement from Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto 2.

When I watched Nodame Cantabile for the first time, I found it a bit odd that so much focus was being given on the performances for once, instead of the dialogues and thoughts. I didn’t have much exposure to classical music back in those days, but I loved the show nevertheless.

Few years later, after getting more and more pulled into classical, I decided to re-watch all three seasons and it was a completely different experience! Especially, this particular scene, which continues to give me goosebumps no matter how many times I watch it.

I have heard many famous performances of this particular piece (Kissin, Anna Fedorova, Matsuev, etc.), and this undoubtedly ranks among them. Kudos to the Nodame Orchestra for giving so much effort behind the music of this wonderful anime!

Listen to the uninterrupted audio here.

Anime, Lists, Music

Beautiful soundtracks #3 – Ghibli

This particular post is dedicated to Studio Ghibli music only. Each of their films is accompanied by a great score. I’ve handpicked few tracks which often send me spiraling into the world of wonder and magic.

• Legend of Ashitaka, Princess Mononoke

• Requiem, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

• One Summer’s Day, Spirited Away

• Carrying You, The Castle in the Sky

• Become the Wind, The Cat Returns

• Dragon Boy, Spirited Away

• The Merry-Go-Round of Life, Howl’s Moving Castle

• Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta nara, Kiki’s Delivery Service

• Inochi no Kioku, The Tale of Princess Kaguya

• The Path of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro

• Dream of Flight, The Wind Rises

• Always With Me, Spirited Away

Click here for part 1.
Click here for part 2.

Lists, Music

Beautiful soundtracks #2

Part 2 of the Beautiful Soundtracks series, containing tracks from various TV shows and films.

• Arrietty’s Song (Instrumental), The Secret World of Arrietty

• Intro Theme, The Pacific

• Allegro Cantabile (EP Piano Version), Nodame Cantabile

• Por Una Cabeza, used in Schindler’s List and Scent of a Woman

• The Merry-go-Round of Life, Howl’s Moving Castle

• The Money Train, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

• Mother of Dragons, Game of Thrones

• Now We Are Free, The Gladiator

• A Story of Boy Meets Girl, 500 Days of Summer

• Shipping up to Boston, The Departed

Click here for part 1.

Lists, Music

Beautiful soundtracks #1

A brilliant score always makes a movie or a TV series more enjoyable. I’ll be listing some great soundtracks from time to time, in no particular order.

• Song for Bob, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

• Forbidden Friendship, How to Train Your Dragon

• Main Theme, Scent of a Woman

• Mononoke’s Theme, Princess Mononoke

• Un Amico, Inglorious Basterds

• Lux Aeterna, Requiem for a Dream

• Main Theme, Schindler’s List

• The Rains of Castamere (Red Wedding version), Game of Thrones

• Welcome to Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park

Music

How sweet silence sounds

We are perfect here,
The world has turned and left us.
All alone tonight,
I have no words,
To describe how it feels,
To be lying with you,
And you would never need words to tell me.

Oh kiss me now,
Like sugar and cinnamon!
Don’t speak a word,
And tell me everything.
Say nothing now,
And we know how sweet silence sounds.
How sweet silence sounds.

And if the sun arose,
We don’t even notice.
If the day creeps and we are free,
There are no words to keep us,
Only hands to hold us,
And nothing left between us but silence.

Journal, Music

Brahms’ Lullaby

I felt awfully exhausted after the last exam of the semester, yet I couldn’t sleep. I almost gave up after an hour of tossing and turning on my bed, when suddenly on a whim, I decided to listen to Brahms’ Lullaby (Tom and Jerry, anyone?).

I’ve always regarded it as a beautiful piece of music (those high notes starting at the 54th second, pure eargasm!). This time it broke me. Literally. I could feel my stress thawing and my mind growing peaceful. And I sensed a very real connection with a man I hardly knew, who had lived 3 centuries ago, and also with the musicians who performed this particular interpretation. I thought of the countless people who had felt the same way over the years. Isn’t that true immortality?

I was asleep before I knew it.

P.S.: A good pair of headphones/speakers goes a long way towards setting the proper mood for such music.